How to Learn From the World’s Best Blogger

Smithsonian

I was recently asked for the name the world’s best blogger, which I took to mean, in a roundabout way, my favorite blogger. The questioner was looking to learn from the modern-day masters.

“Easy,” I said. “The most innovative, concise, incisive, well-written and thought-provoking blog couldn’t be found until recently on the World Wide Web. In fact, when it was originally written it had no triple-w address.” (Those were my exact words, for lack of an impromptu editor)

It was the height of innovation for its time, and it took a succession of bold editors in New York City to bring it to life. I stumbled on it in the Jackson Street Bookstore in Omaha – it’s a thing I do when I’m in a city that’s not my own, I look for a used book store and dive-in to get a feel for the locals.

So it was that among the ceiling-high stacks of previously read books in Nebraska I found the writings of the first and most innovative blogger. He’s become my favorite.

E. B. White, he of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little fame, wrote short essays for The New Yorker between 1927 and 1976 – eons before the internet. A collection of those essays, edited by Rebecca M. Dale, was published by Harper Perennial. They are the mold from which today’s blogs are made, but it took several decades for technology to catch-up with him.

They are at once sparse in length and laden with purpose – not a word dangles in uselessness. They are no more than a page in length and at times as short as a paragraph. White has a way of exalting the mundane, of honoring the ordinary and of finding the humanity in the midst of a bustling city. He was blogging before there were blogs. His entries have a definite structure and rhythm that lead the reader’s curiosity, and he never fails to deliver on poignancy. My Omaha copy is dog-eared and highlighted, underlined and coffee-stained.

It’s been out of print as far as I know for several years, but the good news is that you can still find copies for purchase online, and you can read many of his New Yorker essays at www.newyorker.com/contributors/e-b-white.

Your best bet, though, as I told my original questioner, is to wander through stacks in used bookstores wherever you may be and see if you can find a copy in paperback, the kind you can dog-ear and underline – it’s the best way to learn from the master.

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED on massive scale to help reunite immigrant children with their families

Victor Landa July 9, 2018

This is an opportunity for experts on Latin America to get involved and lend their expertise. Please also share widely: URGENT HELP NEEDED ASAP!! Center for Human Rights and Constitutional […]

Is THIS the Year Latino Voters Finally Turn Arizona Blue?

Victor Landa July 17, 2018

PHOENIX — “Democrats hope demographic changes will translate into a win in November,” wrote The Nation magazine a while back. “Arizona, the second fastest-growing state … brimming with Latinos and Independents [is] […]

Appalachia has a booming Hispanic business and population — and its growing food scene is making an impact

Victor Landa August 1, 2018

From strip malls to historic downtown landmarks, buildings across Appalachia today are telling stories of a changing region. Former nail salons, once-stately banks and empty storefronts are beginning fresh chapters […]

US officials must now say “illegal aliens,” not “undocumented immigrants”

Victor Landa July 27, 2018

The US Department of Justice wants US attorneys offices to stop referring to undocumented immigrants, the term that media and immigrant advocates have increasingly used to refer to people who […]

Audiences are shrinking for Hispanic- and black-oriented U.S. news media

Victor Landa August 1, 2018

In a fact sheet released this week, Pew looks at how “news media made by and for the two largest racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States — blacks and Hispanics” […]

Declining white population is spawning fears, bias

Victor Landa July 23, 2018

Over the last three decades, demographers have told us that there would come a day when the declining white population would become less than half of the U.S. population. The […]

Today’s Latino News Headlines – August 7, 2018

Victor Landa August 7, 2018

Black Man Who Filmed Latino Workers Striking Is Fired from His Job, Regrets Nothing – The Root Remeber this guy with the running commentary from yesterday’s headlines? He recorded a group of Latino […]

Today’s Latino News Headlines – July 27, 2018

Victor Landa July 27, 2018

Census Bureau Stops Plans For 2020 Census Advisory Committee – NPR According to the letter provided by Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed […]